Get all of your holiday shopping done locally in Yellow Springs
By Lara Donnelly
Forget Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Maroon Wednesday, or whatever colorful offers of bargains you’ve seen cropping up in “big box” stores and online retailers. This holiday season, Dayton-area residents and visitors have the chance to give gifts from that really stand out beside products from Radio Shack, Game Stop and Toys “R” Us that usually dominate the everyone’s winter shopping list.
Shops in Yellow Springs are getting together with the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce to offer some fantastic festive merchandise and a great rewards program for local shoppers. Small merchants can’t compete with the mass marketers, but they certainly offer interesting items, and they’re creating innovative ways to entice shoppers away from midnight openings and blowout sales.
Holly Simpson, marketing and events coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce, says it’s often hard for independents stores like those in Yellow Springs to compete with the deep discounts offered by their larger, chain store competitors. Yellow Springs also struggles because people from the area think of it as a destination for day trips, rather than quick shopping jaunts.
“My biggest goal since I started this job a year and a half ago has been to convince my friends in Dayton that it’s not a world away to come to Yellow Springs,” said Simpson. “How do we change that view?”
To draw shoppers away from the crowded mall and into tiny, vibrant downtown Yellow Springs, the Chamber of Commerce organized several events centered on the theme “Holiday in the Springs.” The festivities will run until the Third Weekend Fling on December 16.
Simpson says that the Holiday in the Springs events focus “on staying local and shopping in local shops,” but some of the events are just pure fun.
Most stores will have seasonal refreshments available to shoppers, as well as decorated windows filled with lights, snow, and funky merchandise.
Serious shoppers are in for an even bigger treat than cookies and cider. For every $10 they spend in participating stores, they will receive a chance in a drawing for one of two gift baskets worth $250 each. These baskets are full of donated items and gift certificates from local businesses.
“Last year we gave away two baskets and I would have killed to have either one,” said Simpson. “Same thing this year.”
After all this reading about the great activities and incentives, readers are probably wondering who the participating merchants are. Here’s the list of the 22 small businesses who are offering unique and beautiful items to fulfill your holiday needs:
In King’s Yard
Asanda Imports, located in King’s Yard, sells handcrafted, imported products. They are popular for their beautiful and affordable jewelry, nifty housewares such as lamps, decorations and adorable children’s clothes (plus many other things!)
Tibet Bazaar can add some international flavor to your holiday shopping. Here, you will find clothing, accessories and ornaments from all around the world.
For a dose of much-needed plant life as winter turns everything brown and gray, shoppers can pop into the Village Greenery in King’s Yard. Find season-appropriate poinsettias and Christmas cacti, as well as unusual foliage like pitcher plants.
Springs Gallery caters to connoisseurs of fine art. Local artists sell their work through this gallery, where you can find masks, paintings and hand-colored silk scarves.
Sam & Eddies Open Books offers hundreds of books on all subjects, as well as kooky cards for everyone on your mailing list. It’s also the perfect place to find last-minute gifts and distinctive stocking stuffers like magnets, calendars, notebooks and knick-knacks.
On Xenia Avenue
Looking to decrease your carbon footprint? Ecomental can supply you with all the necessaries. Rain barrels, waterbottles, and all kinds of organic, earth-friendly goodies fill the shelves of this environmentally conscious store.
Jewelry from Jennifer’s Touch is sure to put a sparkle in somebody’s eye on Christmas (or Hannukah, Kwanzaa or Festivus) morning. Handmade with precious stones and metals, these one-of-a-kind pieces dazzle and delight.
Kismet is a great store for the fashionista on your list. Their clothes and accessories are funky and fun. Dresses, blouses and shoes in many styles fill up the store, and the register is covered in enough sparkly jewelry to please any magpie.
Pangaea is another perfect place to grab stocking stuffers. With adorable oddities like moving paper sculptures, as well as more sophisticated products like perfume and jewelry, you can find everything from gag gifts to something for a special someone.
Ohio Silver will delight those who like to adorn themselves and others. There’s an entire case filled with amber jewelry, as well as claddagh and couples rings, chains of every size and length, and earrings of all descriptions.
Urban Handmade is definitely a place to visit if you know any crafters! Purses constructed from chopsticks and quilt squares, necklaces made from scrabble tiles … it’s like Etsy, but better.
Thirsty after so much shopping? Ye Olde Trail Tavern offers up draft beers and tasty meals in one of the oldest buildings in town.
If mozzarella sticks aren’t your thing, try smoothies at the Main Squeeze. Do you home brew? Check out their beer and wine making supplies.
Need a break? Drop in to Little Art movie theater to catch a flick.
Bonadies sells beautiful blown and stained glass decorations for the home. Add some sparkle to your house with window crystals or rainbow nightlights.
Music lovers will want to spend hours in Toxic Beauty leafing through vinyl and soaking up the tunes at this funky local record store.
Dark Star Books is a good place to take a quiet break and page through a huge collection of new and used books. Until the end of the year, all new Marvel and DC comics are half off Also, make sure to say hello to Mr. Eko, the resident cat.
No Common Scents, located north of the village on Route 68, retails teas, herbs and spices of all kinds. Here, shoppers can slather their winter-worn hands with decadent shea butter and sniff essential oils perfect for aromatherapy.
On Dayton Street
Design Sleep, on Dayton Street, is the place to find classy and comfortable sofa beds (yes, they do exist), organic and ergonomic mattresses, and the perfect pillows for tummy sleepers, back sleepers and all-over-the-bed sleepers.
Blokheadz is the place to shop for all the Lego lovers you know. Check out the ever-changing Lego street scene in their front window and then pick up some tasty Lego-shaped candy.
Want to be the next Lance Armstrong? Village Cyclery can set you up with everything you need for the Tour de France (or just a jaunt on the bike path). They sell bikes and biking accessories, and repair bikes in need of TLC.
On Corry Street
Would You Could You In A Frame may take its name from Dr. Seuss, but one look around this gallery should be enough to convince you of its sophistication. A good place to find gorgeous art and stylish decorations like blown glass Christmas tree balls.
Village Artisans is an artists’ collective that has been thriving in Yellow Springs for many years. Local artists man the checkout counter and are happy to discuss their creations with customers.
Throughout Holiday in the Springs, merchants will be trying new things and offering special opportunities. Recently, Basho Apparel set up shop in Dino’s Cappucinos and silk-screened special t-shirts. Urban Handmade is running a 37 Days of Christmas sale, with a different item on sale each day. Simpson says interested customers can follow the sale’s progress on the shop’s Facebook page.
Even if you don’t visit every shop on the list, there’s still plenty to do and see. Take it at a relaxed pace and enjoy the festive atmosphere of Holiday in the Springs. Merchants will be glad to see you and not just your wallet.
“I don’t want to go shop at a mall where somebody’s going to bombard me when I walk in the door, then drop me like a hot potato when I don’t buy something right away,” said Simpson. “You come here to buy unique gifts and meet like-minded people.”
Besides getting a chance at one of those outrageously cool gift baskets, each dollar you spend in these stores goes straight into the local economy.
“It’s fascinating for me to spend my money in a shop and know it’s directly benefiting the community,” said Simpson.
It’s a fascination she wants everyone to feel.
“I think it’s appealing to people’s sensibilities,” she said. “It’s the right thing to do to shop locally.”
For more information on shopping locally in Yellow Springs, visit the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce website at www.yellowspringsohio.org.
Reach DCP freelance writer Lara Donnelly at LaraDonnelly@DaytonCityPaper.com.